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There's no place like home for the Queen of Soul

By Gary Graff
Digital First Media/@GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

It's been nearly 60 years since Aretha Franklin released her first album. And now, with recent health problems behind her, the Detroit-raised Queen of Soul sounds like she could go another 60 if given the chance.

"I am feeling F-A-B, fab. Fabulous," says Franklin, 72, who resides in Bloomfield Hills. "I feel blessed, and it definitely is a blessing that people still care and they still come and they enjoy themselves."

"And," Franklin promises, "I'm coming and I'm bringing it."

She's bringing more than just her old favorites -- 77 Billboard Hot 100 hits that span pop, soul and gospel and have snagged her 18 Grammy Awards and sales of 75 million albums worldwide. Franklin is nearly finished with her next album, a collection for which she's covering songs made famous by other female icons -- including Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Tina Turner and more -- wit the help of producers Babyface and OutKast's Andrew 3000.

"(The originals) are classic versions and we're certainly aware of that, and we're going to do them justice," promises Franklin, who recently received honorary degrees from New York University and Harvard. "We're going to give you exactly what you're expecting and what you're not expecting."

Alongside that, Franklin is talking to potential producers and to the Lifetime channel about a biopic, and is "very, very close" to agreements that will put it in motion. She has "several people" in mind to play her, including "American Idol" alumnus and "Dreamgirls" star Jennifer Hudson and multiple Tony Award winner Audra MCdonald.

The singing is certainly going to be a very, very integral and important part of it," Franklin says, "so we'll case whoever fits the part best."

Aretha Franklin

7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 12

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township

Tickets are $25-$65 pavilion, $15 lawn

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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